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5 Reasons to Watch Broad City

Features
by Inkoo Kang
March 21, 2014 5:00 PM
2 Comments
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Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson on "Broad City"

Broad City, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson's webseries-turned-Comedy Central show, wraps up its debut season next Wednesday. (Fret not: the Amy Poehler-produced series has already been renewed for a second season.) If you haven't yet caught up with this charmingly shaggy sitcom about two Brooklyn twentysomething BFFs (named Ilana and Abbi) itching for a good time, here's five reasons why it's worth a binge-watch this weekend. 

1. It's effing hilarious. Broad City's setting and census demographic have drawn immediate comparisons to HBO's Girls, but they're entirely different shows. Whereas Lena Dunham's cringe comedy is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, Glazer and Jacobson aim for belly laughs through a combination of situational and absurd humor. 

Since explaining a joke tends to undercut what's funny about it, it's best to just offer a fine example of Broad City's comedy stylings. In the scene below, the friends meet at a park. It's easy to see the depth of their friendship here, as well as their addicted, lightly irrelevant take on pop culture. Ilana's on-again, off-again dentist boyfriend (BC MVP Hannibal Burress) makes an appearance to provide a deadpan contrast to Ilana's manic chattiness.  


2. It features female slackers. The lady-stoner protagonist is the Bigfoot of pop culture -- she probably exists, but no one's ever seen her. As an e-coupon copywriter and a wannabe-trainer, respectively, Ilana and Abbi feel revolutionary in their lack of ambition. (In the video above, Ilana took one of her four-hour lunches to temp as a dog walker for the day.) The two aren't dumb -- they just channel their energies elsewhere, like making a few bucks for a Lil Wayne show or spending a day searching for a missing cell phone. The resulting adventures are low-stakes, but there's enough comic weirdness to make their haplessness charming instead of navel-gazing.

3. It's not afraid of female bodiesBroad City is on basic cable, so it doesn't have the freedom to bare all as Dunham does on Girls. But it's remarkably bold with its body humor, which is raunchy without being gross. Well, okay, maybe it's a little gross -- but in a good way. The best example of this is probably the "pussy weed" episode, in which the two have a pretty detailed discussion about why Ilana puts her stash in, well, you know. (Bonus joke from this episode: "What kind of dog would you be?" "A slim pug.")

4. It's a sweet but slightly twisted take on female friendship. Ilana and Abbi are such good friends it's sometimes nice just to hang around them while they enjoy each other's company. But Glazer and Jacobson have added a few dark notes to their relationship -- namely codependency and vague sexual jealousy -- that feels honest and hilarious. That combination leads to innocently depraved scenes like this one from the pilot: 


5. It's an appealingly goofy portrait of youth. So okay, Abbi and Ilana are walking disasters. But they're walking disasters determined to enjoy themselves, which makes them fun to watch. Unlike Girls (sorry, the comparisons are natural and the contrasts helpful), Broad City doesn't skewer twentysomethings for their bratty entitlement, but finds humor in Abbi and Ilana's occasional lack of perspective and the ridiculous situations they're willing to put themselves into because they don't know any better, like sleeping with DJs. Let's hope they never grow up. 

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2 Comments

  • Tara | March 23, 2014 9:03 PMReply

    ONLY 5!?!

  • Bonnie Weiss | March 22, 2014 5:30 PMReply

    Broad City. These two meshuganas are hysterical. Keep it coming. How about putting it on regular Netflix.
    I dropped HBO. Too expensive.

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